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Supreme Court stays tax relief on oxygen concentrators

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told the apex court the GST council would be meeting on June 8 to take a formal decision on granting various reliefs
Supreme Court of India.

Our Legal Correspondent   |   New Delhi   |   Published 02.06.21, 02:16 AM

The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed a Delhi high court order which had declared as “unconstitutional” the levy of GST on the import of GST concentrators.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal on Tuesday told the apex court the GST council would be meeting on June 8 to take a formal decision on granting various reliefs to individuals importing medical equipment.

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The senior most law officer argued that pending the GST Council decision, the court must stay the Delhi high court order of May 21. The Delhi court while quashing the levy of the GST on oxygen concentrators said the levy violated the fundamental right to life and personal liberty.

The high court had passed the impugned order while dealing with a writ petition filed by one Gurucharan Singh questioning the GST on the import of life saving equipment particularly when the country was grappling with the acute shortage of oxygen concentrators.

Appearing on behalf of the finance ministry, Venugopal told the bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah that the government had  prior to the high court verdict brought down the GST on concentrators to 12 per cent. He said earlier the levy was 77 per cent but reduced to 28 per cent and gradually brought down to 12 per cent. 

Justice Chandrachud heading the bench reminded the AG that the court during the earlier hearing on Covid related issues had asked the Centre’s views on exempting wheel chairs from tax.

Venugopal said the GST Council was sitting on June 8  and they would consider all these issues. The high court judgment ought to be stayed in the meantime.

Justice M.R Shah, reminded the AG that the high court had passed the order while taking into consideration the constitutional rights of citizens for equality and right to life. Perhaps the Centre had not properly argued its case in the high court, he said.  



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